17 July 2010
The Aussie alphabet: F is for ferry; footy
So, ferries. Certainly not uniquely Australian. But yesterday, on the road back from Toowoomba, we got off the motorway and took the scenic route, Moggill Rd, from its western origin. What we didn't know was that the road ends at the river, yes, ends; and in order to get to the other side of the river, the cars drive onto a funny little ferry. Here's a link to the map showing how the road just ends on either side of the river. The ferry is pulled across the river by a cable, see top photo, and once it's across the cars drive off and continue on their way. This arrangement is on a major commute route. The traffic backups during peak hours don't even bear thinking about.
But, footy! THAT'S Australian. Now, footy could be any one of four games played here: rugby league, rugby union, soccer, or Australian Rules Football. But usually it refers to Aussie Rules. Now that I've lived here for nearly two years, here is what I know about these games:
1) Soccer is called soccer, just like in the US. It may be the beautiful game elsewhere, but here, of the four it's probably the least popular.
2) Rugby scores often don't get out of the teens, whereas footy scores can approach 100.
3) If there are four upright poles in each end zone it's footy; if the goalposts are H-shaped, it's rugby.
4) A lot of footy teams are based in and around Melbourne, the spiritual home of Aussie Rules.
The nuances of league vs. union are beyond me, and none of them look like American football, mainly because there are no timeouts between plays, no pads, no helmets, and the ball is a bit rounder without the pointy ends.
I took the photo above at an actual footy game - yes, I have been to one, thanks to Brian - about a year ago.